wtorek, 9 maja 2017

Interview with Fabio Mozine/ Läjä Records!

       Fabio Mozine supports underground DIY scene since I remember, his label is well know because of many great and weird releases. Enjoy the exclusive interview made by Carlos James, translated by Zé Misanthrope specially for GCP blog.
        Since when have you noticed that yo’ve reached the point of no return in your underground life? When did you realize it could be a real thing, that instead of having a 9-5 Job, your bands and projects would be the priority? Do you have plans on expanding Läjä?
       I Think i’ve noticed the point of no return even before forming my first band, just for the simple pleasure I’ve felt from listening to garage bands, local bands and for the absolute disgust I’ve felt for the mainstream bands, even the metal ones. And of course the feeling being part of the underground community. Now, for me to believe in it in a professional point of view, especially with the label, being able to make a living out of it, it took me quite some time, and I’m still struggling with it. It’s a very unstable job, it makes me fearful and insecure about the very nature of it. Obviously any kind of job has its instabilities, but think about it: if you have a stable job in a bank, for instance, I believe you don’t feel afraid about losing your job or having no income unless you fuck up really bad. I’m not sure if I will expand Laja in any means, based on my will to work at home with small things and little problems. I just think I need to revamp it from time to time.

        About Laja. You do release a lot of crazy stuff, but somehow they feel connected to each other in a very natural way: Lambada, Rock ’n’ Roll, Grindcore, Black Metal, Hardcore Punk. To what do you attribute this feeling that they belong together? Do you think this is the mojo of the label? Have you ever received any backlash from this crazy portfolio of yours? Have you gotten some shit from any scene elitist? What’s the biggest merit of Laja? How many releases have you had so far?
       Definitely, what makes me decide about releasing or not a band is directly concerned to the friendship and empathy I feel for the member(s) of a said band. I receive a crazy amount of demos from fantastic bands of every style you can imagine: Crust, Grind, Straight Edge and even bands that would fit perfectly on the cast of any major label. Every now and then I have the opportunity to license some stuff from big and famous bands, but I’ve been declining those. So, my starting point for signing a band, my empathy for them. Their style it’s just not part of the equation. Of course it’s only natural that most of it is somehow related to Hardcore punk. Even if Motossierra has more of a rocker vibe and HPLE has all of that Latin vibe, I can see that both bands are firmly rooted in the hardcore punk territory. Even when they play here their audience is mostly hardcore kids. Backlash is part of the business. Some people just don’t get how could I have released and liked a band such as Boom Boom Kid, that most consider a childish and annoying band, but to me they are a seminal hardcore band. The scene elitists will always complain. The thing is that Laja today is so detached from this punk/anarchist thing that they don’t even waste their time with me. So most of the complaints come from regular clients and close friends. Of course that even with all of these idiosyncrasies, Figueiroas was by far the most controversial and absurdist one. But if you pay close attention you can find that x-factor that make them part of Laja cast.
       Since the early days Laja can be considered by some as a Sloppy and Raw label, despite being one of the most successful labels in Brazil, pioneering in out of the box releases and products, a thing that’s worth of mentioning. And you’ve even managed to have a cult following and create a very peculiar sense of aesthetics that a lot of people are ripping off. Do you think you have helped to define a style, of opening the doors of the underground for people that wouldn’t normally relate to this scene?
       Laja started following the blueprints of labels such as recess records, 625, sound pollution and slap a ham, but mainly Recess, that is owned by Todd, vocalist of FYP. I think I’ve put a lot of my own personality in the label, and it’s a way to release my own bands stuff. I think this definition of style is more of a collective creation of my hometown, Vila Velha, than a e work of mine. Maybe for having a label and being always in the front fighting for the scene, people may associate this style as a thing that I’ve done alone. But this is the work of a lot of bands that carry the flag for the so called Vila Velha Hardcore. I can’t deny that Laja helped bringing some people out of the scene to, at least, get familiar with it. I believe that people really like Merda’s aesthetics, but haven’t even heard the music we make, for example. It happens a lot.
       You have traveled pretty much the whole world with your bands, what aspects of these other countries do you think are lacking in our local scene and what local aspects did you miss abroad? What of those things have you brought back home? Are we able to learn something out of this experience?
       Of all the places we've played, Japan is the craziest by far. I've played in counties where people are cold and I don't even plan to ever come back even with a lot of invites to do so. Actually, most of our international tours were never really profitable. Some of those we even had to take money out of our pockets to make ends meet, which is extremely common. I must confess that after all the experience, problems, accidents and things like this, I'm not much into touring abroad anymore, not even tour domestically. I can barely handle play three gigs in one weekend. But considering the things that I've learned, as soon as we came back home, I was nuts about touring Brazil playing everyday of the week just like we do in Europe, an we did that with Merda. It was reasonable successful in is own right. Just recently I've organized a gig on a Wednesday in Vitoria that pretty much everyone was telling me not to do, but it went all right. This thing of gigs in a regular weekday really got stuck in my head. Back in Europe we saw a lot of booking agents, drivers, and this is not something we see here often. This driver agent back line thing in Brazil is not very well handled in Brazil and I think it's something that has a lot of space to grow. And about Brazil, like it or not, this cultural mix is about to happen. We're gonna have gigs mixing hardcore, metal and even some pop stuff, this is not something I've seen touring abroad.
Laja Rec HQ.

       Mukeka di Rato is your first band, and arguably one of the pioneers in your state area and even nationwide to release proper albums and tour regularly. And the band has pretty much the same lineup since the early days. For how long have you been in this band, what's ahead for mukeka and how do you place Mukeka in terms of importance in the Brazilian hardcore punk scene?
       The current lineup is the second lineup ever, to me the most important of all. With this line up we have recorded our first album. This line up consists of Mozine, Paulista, Brek and Sandro. Before it, we had Dudu in the guitar and he recorded our first two demos. After our second album, Gaiola, Sandro left and Bebe took his position, with him we recorded two splits and one album, than he left and Sandro came back. I really don't think we're gonna have anymore lineup changes. We came up in 95 as one of the first bands in town. Of course there were other bands before us, but none of them was able to have the same kind of exposure we got, and this is a shame. The drummer, Brek, lives in Santa Catarina, and this is really far from us. The rest of the band lives in Vila Velha, we're all pretty busy and we don't have the time to put in the band as we wish we could do. But we always have some creative solutions to make new stuff happen. After our last album, Hitler's Dog Stalin Rats, we had a break from writing and just focused on playing live. This year we want to start writing the follow-up album that even has a potential name, 40 Carnavais em uma noite, and maybe record it next year.
       Name 8 albums that you just can't stop listening to.
       Fyp – Toylet Kids Bread
       Adelino Nascimento - Volume 1
       Belchior – Alucinação
       Anti Cimex – Rapped Ass
       Discharge – Why
       Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit
       Raul Seixas – todos
       Merda – indio cocalero (this is the only album that I've played on that I still listen to. Most of the times I can't stand listening to my own stuff.)
       Now to maybe kiss some ass. Name some albums that your label have released that the people abroad might like.
       I'm sure that people abroad would lovede: Facada (any album)Motosierra (xxx), Mukeka (hitlers dogs , it's easier for them because of the language thing), Water Rats and Bode Preto.

       You're an actor, singer, writer, sex symbol, you have a pretty successful business. You never seem to take a break. Are you a workaholic? What's next for you?
       I love working because, lets face it, I have a dream job. Sometimes my task is drawing devils and gist like this. About being a singer and actor, I'm just not. I can't sing at all, but I'm merda's lead vocalist which is totally different. I really tried recording so e vocals for a campy romantic project named Tenebrio Peixoto, that really sucked, because i really made an effort to sing in key, in the bottom line, I can't sing to save my life. I'm not an actor, actually I don't even like movies that much. I really don't dig th typical movie fan. I don't go to th movies and I don't watch it at home. Some people invite me to act sometimes especially after I happened to appear in some humour sketches in TV Quase. My acting skills suck major ass, I hate seeing myself on screen, and everytime I do something like this it's money based. I'm not a writer because I never practice nor release any books, but I really like the book I wrote for Merda, I'm proud of it. I think my best skill is actually promoting bands. I can sometimes make some underground releases go places where they wouldn't normally be noticed. The last movie I've been part of is named Os Incontestáveis. It's basically a road movie which is really well shot and produced, and had an amazing crew behind it. The film is on some local theatres with a surprisingly good acceptance. I was able to watch it and not feel bothered by it. This year I will make the first official Laja Fest in Vila Velha, with nine bands that are part of the label history, I think it will happen in June and I'm pretty pumped about it. And as you mentioned I do so much crazy shit, I'd like to emphasize that I also fool around with drawing. Even before I was into hardcore I was really passionate about comic books and zines. I have a character named crackinho that now has become an icon to some sorts to Laja. So he is into merch like hats, shirts and stuff like this. It came to a point that even people not familiar with Laja know about Crackinho. In a nutshell, I'm a jack of all trades, master of none.
       Do you think Laja would have the same kind of reception abroad as it does in Brazil? Or do you think the success is more related to the fact that it somehow reflects the chaotic and eclectic vibe the country has? (Question: Diego Vinhas)
       I think this is more of a Brazilian thing, the crazy crossovers and nonsense... that's so true that we're not very big abroad. We sell some stuff for the international market, but to few to mention.
       FIGUEIROAS, one of the bands in the label was able to get a lot of exposure that is not usual for the underground bands. On the other hand your band was even signed to a major label and released the album Carne. How do you see episodes like those in which your stuff crosses over to the mainstream? Do you think this is something you want to pursue or are you happy with the size tha label has today? (Question: Diego Vinhas)
       FIGUEIROAS has a lot of crossover potential, but I don't think it applies to Mukeka. When we released the album in the major label, we always wanted to make an extreme album with loud guitars with no compromise whatsoever. And that's precisely what we've done, of course with the label support. So we were realistic from the get go and we have never hoped for any success.

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